EU Diplomat Pledges Closer Ties to Central Asia

Posted November 27th, 2012 at 1:20 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

The European Union's foreign policy chief is pledging closer ties with Central Asia, especially in economic cooperation and on security issues.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton held a joint news conference Tuesday with Kyrgyzstan's foreign minister, Erlan Abdyldayev.

Speaking in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, Ashton said the EU supports the region's ongoing economic and political reforms.

The top EU diplomat is on a tour of Central Asia and is also scheduled to visit Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan in the coming week.

A day earlier, Ashton was in Georgia where she warned against the prosecution of former officials from President Mikheil Saakashvili's ousted government.

She made her comments to reporters in the capital, Tbilisi, after meeting separately with President Saakashvili and his political rival, Georgia's Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Mr. Saakashvili remains the president of the ex-Soviet state for another year despite his party's loss to Mr. Ivanishvili's government in last month's elections. Since then, authorities have arrested Mr. Saakashvili's former defense minister, the army's top general and several Interior Ministry officials.

Ashton said the EU calls on all sides in Georgian politics to “uphold European values of democracy, freedom and the rule of law.”